Alexela: LNG vessel serving Paldiski port held up by Elering delays

Paldiski LNG terminal
Paldiski LNG terminal Source: Alexela/Infortar

While fuel retailer Alexela and holding company Infortar want to bring a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) – a vessel fitted out to transport Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) – to the port of Paldiski, both companies say grid distributor Elering has not made ready its part of the connection yet.

The Paldiski LNG terminal consists of three sections - the port, Elering's connection with the Balticconnector pipeline, which links Estonia and Finland, and the FSRU vessel. 

Alexela and Infortar are responsible for the completion of the quay and port facilities and handed over the work to Elering a month ago, ahead of schedule, ERR reports.

Elering were supposed to complete their construction of the infrastructure enabling the reception of LNG by the end of this month, but Alexela and Infortar now say that Elering will not give the go-ahead for LNG reception capacity, by November 30.

An LNG terminal on the coast of Finland is not yet ready, while at the same time Estonia has not been granted preferential access, Infortar CEO Martti Talgre says.

For this reason: "We have continued to look for opportunities to rent an FSRUourselves and start pumping gas into the pipes as early as December, hence the connection request on November 11," Talgre said.

"We received a response [from Elering] last week stating that LNG cannot be brought to Paldiski in the near future, however," Talgre went on.

While an FSRU can moor at the newly-constructed quay, Elering has not installed the required loading equipment, he added.

"To put it figuratively - the gas station is ready, but there is no tanker," he sent on.

In order to bring the vessel to the berth, the company needs a specific date when the ability to connect the floating terminal will be created, though Elering has not specified this date.

Alexela board chair Marti Hääl meanwhile claims that the missing connection component is a standard piece of equipment, which should have been clear at the time the decision was made to forge ahead with the terminal, as part of a strategy of decoupling from dependence on Russian natural gas supplies.

"This is how the tasks were apportioned in the spring: Alexela and Infortar will deal with the port aspects while Elering deals with the natural gas infrastructure. Part of the gas infrastructure is Everything that connects the ship to the existing gas network constitutes a part of the natural gas infrastructure (ie. Elering's part of the task-ed.)," Hääl said.

On March 31 this year, the government tasked the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications with building LNG receiving capacity by this fall. The construction of the quay started at the beginning of May.

Meanwhile an FSRU vessel with the first consignment of LNG opted to travel to Inkoo instead of Paldiski and, while LNG from the Finnish port can be purchased and supplied via the Balticconnector pipeline.

LNG is re-gassified on land for supply as natural gas.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

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